‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. This definition of health adopted by the World Health Organization way back in 1946 stresses the importance of mental well-being as an important attribute of health. Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine also echoes that a balance and connect between the body, mind, spirit, and social well-being as a state of health.
Being mentally healthy has a huge impact on our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that affects our lives in many ways. Taking care of mental health can promote the productivity and effectiveness of the activities that we are involved in.
Mental health has a positive correlation with a country’s economic growth. Recent lock-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic further contributed to the increased prevalence of mental illnesses.
Amidst all the chaos of making ends meet, one must invest time in some kind of activity to promote mental health and what could be a better option than sports which are the most underrated mood elevators. Sports have always been known for physical benefits but in recent years, research has found that sport can have a positive effect on mental health as well.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended using physical activity as a complementary strategy with other treatment modalities to prevent and manage mental health conditions, as it delays their onset and reduces a wide range of symptoms.Studies have shown that regular physical activity and exercise significantly reduce the prevalence of major depression, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social phobia.
Sports enhance mood
Need a relaxation after a hectic day at work? Indulge in a team sport. Exercise prompts the body to generate more of the happy chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings making you feel happier and more relaxed. Especially team sports provide an opportunity to connect with teammates, imbibe team spirit along with a whole lot of joy and happiness.
Sports prevent Cognitive decline and improve concentration
Need to check your cognitive functions? Indulge in aerobic activities. Research suggests that a combination of aerobic and muscle strengthening activities for half an hour; three to five times a week prevent cognitive decline and keep your key mental skills such as learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, problem-solving, decision making, and attention sharp even as you age. It helps regenerate brain cells thereby reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. The ability to focus and concentrate eventually increases with the practice of sports.
Sports are an excellent remedy for stress and depression
Need to combat stress, anxiety and depression? Activate yourself physically. Various research studies rate exercise comparable to antidepressants. When you activate yourself physically the connections in the nerve cells of the hippocampus perform better, ultimately relieving you of stress, anxiety and depression. (For more info visit http://sportsnarad.com/the-role-of-exercise-when-battling-anxiety-and-depression/) A physically active mind is distracted from daily stresses and overcomes negative thoughts. The harder you work the lesser the levels of stress hormones and more the levels of endorphins.
Sports boost self-confidence
Need to be confident and improve self esteem? Master a sport of your choice. Playing sports boosts your confidence and endows you with a sense of mastery and self-control. Be it team games or individual sport; as you enhance your skills, stamina and passion towards the game it improves your self-image and makes you feel more confident. By playing sports, energy is channelized which leads to a sense of pride and increases productivity, making you confident off the field as well.
Sports develop leadership traits
Need to be a leader? Reach the field for some energizing team games. Team games such as football, volleyball, hockey, and cricket provide an opportunity to interact with people, wait for your turn and induce a feeling of togetherness among the teammates. They form breeding grounds for long time relationships, memories of sharing the joy of victory & defeat and most of all adopt a team spirit. It imbibes in us a sense of growing together selflessly. All these qualities make a good leader in the long run be it personally or professionally.
Sports benefit children
Sport can benefit children in many of the same ways that they benefit adults. The biggest difference is that when children start participating in sports at a young age, they are far more likely to stay active as they grow older. Participating in a team sport improves academic performance and leads to better scholastic outcomes.
The experience children gather from outdoor play, are a treasure for lifetime. Both success and failure in early life helps them develop better life skills to cope with the highs and lows of life. From Failures, they develop patience, learn to control their emotions, and channel negative feelings in a positive way that is important to bounce back from disappointment, cope with unpleasant experiences to become resilient. Success can improve self-confidence and teaches about teamwork which is essential for improving children’s overall emotional well-being (For more info visit: (http://sportsnarad.com/exercise-contributes-to-emotional-well-being/).
The World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) has declared this year’s theme; Mental Health for All: Greater Investment, Greater Access’ emphasizing the need to take care of mental health; invest time and take necessary measures to maintain mental health. It is each ones duty to unite and encourage each other to get involved in physical activity support against social stigmas, and create more and more awareness of mental health issues.